International Partnership to Host Workshops to Prevent Human Trafficking in Liberia

September 8, 2021
/ / /

Wellesley, Mass. | 09/09/2021 — Together with academic, NGO, and private sector partners, the Wellesley Centers for Women will hold two workshops to address the problem of human trafficking in Liberia.

Human trafficking in Liberia has long been a pernicious form of violence affecting women and children, especially those most economically vulnerable. It has been flagged as a critical issue by the United Nations, and has put a damper on business development and private sector investment in Liberia. In the U.S. Department of State’s 2021 Trafficking in Persons Report, Liberia’s status declined from its ranking the previous year, raising concerns. The government of Liberia has taken recent strides to address trafficking by forming an interagency commission, and WCW will bolster those efforts with these workshops funded by the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia.

“It takes a village to end trafficking, and it all begins with educating diverse stakeholders about the scale of the problem and how they can make a difference,” said WCW Executive Director Layli Maparyan, Ph.D. “With everyone working together—academia, the NGO sector, the private sector, government, and community-based organizations—we can turn the tide in Liberia.”

In concert with its partners in the United States and Liberia, WCW will provide a valuable educational resource to students, professionals, and those who work in the markets in Liberia who have the power to deepen their awareness and take concrete actions that address trafficking. Both workshops will be designed, developed, and delivered by WCW and the University Consortium for Liberia (UCL)—a nonprofit organization based in Atlanta, Georgia, that is dedicated to coordinating diverse academic efforts between Liberia and the global community. 

Partners on the project include the University of Liberia and its new Gender Studies Program; the Sustainable Market Women’s Fund, a nonprofit organization in Liberia that focuses on improving the livelihoods of women who work in markets; as well as Brussels Airlines, the Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL), and the Liberia Airport Authority (LAA). All are committed to reducing gender-based violence in Liberia.

“On behalf of the UCL Board, we are excited to collaborate with WCW and the leadership of Dr. Layli Maparyan, who is also a founding partner of the UCL,” stated Hon. Cynthia Lynn Blandford, Founder and President of the UCL. “Through our Sister Airport Agreement between ATL and LAA, this initiative fits strategically into the objectives of the Agreement to strengthen our airport relationships. I could not think of a better opportunity to get this important work done for the betterment of the Liberian community.”

The first two-day workshop, held virtually in early November 2021, will focus on human trafficking in the travel and transportation sectors. The goal will be to make it possible for workers at all levels and everyday travelers to recognize the signs of trafficking, know how to respond and report, and understand how everyone can help end trafficking. 

The second two-day workshop, slated for mid-spring 2022 in Liberia, will focus on human trafficking affecting women who work in the markets and their families. A component of this workshop will be the development of a community-based service-learning project on gender-based violence, which will link University of Liberia students and faculty with market women. Because trafficking occurs in a complex social and cultural context and cannot be sustainably redressed in isolation, this project will help identify key factors and potential sites of intervention on which future anti-trafficking efforts can be built in local communities, aided by UCL partnerships.

About the Wellesley Centers for Women

The Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW) is the largest academic research and action institute in the United States that is focused on women and gender and driven by social change. WCW is located at Wellesley College. Research scientists and project directors at WCW advance gender equality, social justice, and human wellbeing through high-quality research, theory, and action programs. Areas of work include: Education, Economic Security, Mental Health, Youth and Adolescent Development, and Gender-Based Violence. 

About the University Consortium for Liberia

The University Consortium for Liberia (UCL), a 501(c)3 organization based in Atlanta, Georgia, is dedicated to coordinating diverse academic efforts between Liberia and the global community. Since 2009, UCL has collaborated with students, university faculty, and other academic professionals to increase learning in Liberia and the United States.  UCL facilitates exchanges between Liberia and the U.S. that consist of faculty leading and engaging in service learning, partners participating in research and workshops, and academic institutions providing scholarships. UCL’s members engage in collaboration on projects and initiatives, joint fundraising and grant writing, sharing ideas with the general public, assessments of Liberia’s rebuilding progress.  UCL currently has 19 member institutions, including 14 U.S. colleges and universities (6 HBCUs), 4 Liberian colleges and institutions, and one INGO. 

Read More


February 5, 2021
/ / /



Dear UCL Institutional Partners, Stakeholders, Sponsors, Alumni, and Friends: February 2021

On behalf of the UCL Board of Directors, I am pleased to present to you a 5-year High-Level Impact and Overview Report on the University Consortium for Liberia’s (UCL) Institutional Partners and “Where are They Now” UCL Alumni Student Success Stories.

We are proud to announce that we have 18 Institutional Partners who have provided leadership and support to Liberia over the past 6 or more years and for this, we are truly thankful.  As we look to the future together, we want to thank our partners, stakeholders, sponsors, alumni, and friends for their generous donations and sponsorships to help UCL scholars to further their educational dreams and goals. We are also pleased to announce that Dr. George T. French, President of Clark Atlanta University, will be joining our leadership team as the Honorary Chair, and Dr. Michael Best, Georgia Tech Professor with the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs and School of Interactive Computing will serve as an advisor to the UCL on IT solutions, interactive computing, and e-learning.

As we embark on our fundraising goals for 2021-2022, during this difficult time of the Coronavirus pandemic, we hope that you will join us for some unique fundraising activities including our $.50 Cent Campaign, Virtual Auctions, and Special On-Line Events/Webinars to help raise funds to help support our UCL Scholarship Program.

We look forward to seeing you soon and please feel free to reach out to us at 404-565-1154 or by e-mail at You can also visit our website at for the latest information.

Wishing you a safe and prosperous New Year!




Cynthia L. Blandford

President and Board Chair

Read More

University Consortium for Liberia (UCL) Webinar

December 5, 2020
/ / /

December 4, 2020, the UCL, in collaboration with the Liberian Consulate in GA will host an Educational Webinar will be launched in collaboration with the University of Liberia’s President Dr. Julius Nelson and other distinguished personalities to discuss e-Learning at the University of Liberia and celebrate “Where are they Now” UCL alumni success stories. Over 2,500 attended via live-stream and another 54,000 joined-in to view on a post-boost world-wide. Connect to Liberia Africa Webinar Series


Read More